Wondering what is platinum used for? Platinum is one of the rarest of the precious metal commodities and is well known as material for jewelry, but it's also extremely useful, especially in developing technologies.
Why is platinum so useful?
Platinum has some special properties that make it a highly valuable commodity. First and foremost: Platinum is virtually impervious to corrosion. This means platinum is extremely valuable in mechanical, industrial and electronics applications. Second, platinum alloys have a melting point over 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, making it ideal for high-heat applications. Finally, platinum conducts extremely well, and it can serve as a catalyst in other processes. All of these characteristics mean that this rare precious metal is in high demand in a range of applications and industries.
Platinum in jewelry.
While platinum is highly useful in electrical applications, one of its earliest and continuing uses is in jewelry. Platinum purity, hardness and strength make it a good candidate for jewelry applications. It's resistance to tarnish and color is ideal in jewelry, as platinum tends to enhance the brilliance of gemstones. Platinum jewelry is growing in popularity in bridal settings, and it is in high demand in China and Japan, followed by Europe and North America.
The catalytic converter is the component of the car that reduces the toxicity of the car's emissions. Platinum is a key component in the catalytic converter, and it is widespread in Europe due to the prevalence of diesel cars. Palladium has been used in place of platinum in some catalytic converter applications, and for a while, the demand for palladium in the catalytic converter outpaced platinum. However, both precious metals continue to play a role in catalytic converters, depending on the manufacturer and technology used.
Platinum and chemical applications.
Platinum has many applications in conjunction with various chemicals. Platinum serves as a catalytic converter in fertilizers and even explosives due to its role in converting ammonia to nitric acid. Combined with petrol, it helps to reduce emissions. It also serves as a catalyst to produce biodegradable elements of detergent, or to manufacture silicones for automotive, aerospace and construction applications.
Platinum and electronics.
As technology improves, platinum is finding a growing role in the electronics industry. Platinum goes into everything from computer hard drives to fiber optic cables. Platinum works in thermocouples for measuring temperature in glass, in infra-red detectors or in steel and semiconductor industries. Platinum is useful as an electrical contact, and it's used in ceramic capacitors.
Fuel cells, petroleum and spark plugs.
Platinum finds uses in a broad range of industries. For example, platinum is widely used in spark plugs in the United States, and it is growing in popularity in spark plugs in Europe. Platinum is the primary catalyst used in refining in the petroleum industry. Finally, platinum is being examined as car manufacturers look into producing fuel cells that generate electrical power instead of combustion. As technology continues to evolve, platinum plays a growing role in diverse applications.